Back during the 2009 "tractor rescue trip" post, I pictured a couple old Ski Doo snowmobiles I picked up from my friend Ron "Goose" Thomsen while in Minnesota. Since then, Ron has turned his hobby in to a business selling and reproducing parts for vintage Ski Doo snowmobiles. Shameless plug- www.reproductionvintageparts.com
Back to the subject! One of the machines was a '69 Olympique 320. The more deluxe of Ski Doo's single cylinder offerings for that year, it had a pop-up hideaway headlight, and a wrap around chrome bumper and rear grab handle. Now I knew for the $100 I handed Ron that I had a diamond in the rough.
The machine on the right is a 1968 Olympique, that was thrown in free (engineless) and a useable hood and handlebars plucked for two twenties. The 69 is on the left.
The 69's seat cover had been destroyed by the sun, and the rain soaked in the moisture, which rotted the plywood base and rusted the top of the track tunnel (sheet metal body to you non sledders out there) paper thin. It's rubber drive track wasn't in great shape, at least one of the internal steel rods was broken, and half the cogs on the left rear of the track idler sprocket were missing.
The gas tank on these is "built in" as part of the front of the machine, and it had some foul smelling varnish that may have been gas in about 1980 or so. The 318cc single cylinder Rotax engine turned over with what felt to be good compression, and the carburetor had been covered with a plastic bag.
The sled sat a year or so in Virginia at the inlaw's. The 68 machine was resurrected first, with a period correct Rotax 247 I had from a '67 Ski Doo I parted as a teenager, the engine stored in a friend's shed in MN all these years.
|Coming home summer 2010|
In the summer of 2010, the 69 came where we live in snowless Savannah to get a little TLC. However, I had other things going on and never got to it. They had a good snow in January of 2011 up at the inlaws, so despite the fact I had done absolutely nothing to the machine since it was pulled from the pine trees in MN, I spent a long Thursday evening after work, I cleaned the ignition points, cleaned the carburetor, rigged up working throttle and brake cables, and I got 'er running. I just used a 5 quart oil jug as a temporary gas tank tucked in between the hood and running board on the left side. A wire clipped to the ground on the wiring harness for a "kill" switch. Note that it has no ignition switch or key- more on that later!
In the truck and off we went on a Friday night, oh the kids and wife came too. :)
I had done ONE step along the way in the fix up- I made a new seat. A couple inches thicker than the original, and not made of the nice, pleated factory reproduction material Goose makes his from, but comfy.
Enough of the original wood was there for a pattern, and I added a couple inches to the original foam. I have not yet tried to use a sewing machine, and just fold and staple.
Anyhow...back to the trip! We got safely to the wife's mom and hubby Chris's at about 2am. There was about 10-12" of snow on the ground. It fell on Wednesday night, but where they are (Wise county, VA) they get snow but it rarely sticks around as they are far enough south they don't stay that cold for long.
The next AM I got up after too little sleep with a caffeine hang over (ugg!) and with Chris' help, got the yellow machine unloaded. A tad hard to start with no recoil starter on it (needed parts I did not have) we used a knotted rope wound around the emergency starting hub, which is a small diameter and harder to pull. After priming it with a squirt of gas she popped to life. A quick blast up and down the hard packed snow covered drive showed she had a lot more "jam" than my '71 12 horse Ski Doo Elan (another story in itself) 4 year old Cam and 6 year Old Chloe as well as my wife got rides around the yard and up and down the drive. The Oly was much more comfortable for two person riding, the Elan is shorter and really not made for it.
Once again machines were loaded up- we put 'em in the back of Chris' 2500 Chevy and we drove south down to Kristy's Aunt Debi's place, in Lee county. She lives down a narrow, unpaved road wayyyyyy back in the hills, beautiful country in an area called the Klondikes locally. We drove past her place about 1/4 mile to where the state maintanence on the road stops, and unloaded. From there the road is narrow and used by folks with horses, 4x4's and ATV's, the road winds it's way to the top of the mountain where a load out area is from logging in years past.
|Chris on the 71 Elan|
|Debi left, Chris right. The Olympique ran off a jug in the left running board, and I carried a gallon on the right. The five gallon jug on the ground was for refueling.|
|At the pond|